This article give an insight to every reader about the plight of Solar system installers & the incompetencies of MSEDCL which is not only depriving the state of Maharashtra from availing Solar Subsidy from Centre but also discouraging the use of solar system entirely.

Back Ground: Since April 2019 there is no subsidy scheme for solar roof top in Maharashtra & the previous scheme of 50Mw took just about 5 months to be successfully completed by MEDA. In March 2019 MSEDCL demanded just 25 MW subsidy for entire Maharashtra from MNRE, whereas the Discom’s of Gujrat which is half the size of Maharashtra had taken up 600MW. Just for calculation sake 25MW subsidy amount is approximately Rs. 31 Crores & for 600 Mw it is Rs. 750 Crore (For a half size state). This was a clear case of

injustice to the highest tax payer state of the country which went uncontended because of MSEDCL’s unenthusiastic attitude towards Solar Industry. The additional Central subsidy MSEDCL could have easily

recieved could have boosted Maharashtra’s economy. On the contrary MSEDCL did not want to distribute even this minuscule of 25MW subsidy from Centre to the people of Maharashtra & shamelessly put the scheme in dustbin. Also meanwhile MSEDCL’s Anti Maharashtra approach continued by means of proposing Net Billing, Grid support charges & they kept the consumers confused & Solar Integrators on their toes to make them completely forget the subsidy process.

When Team MASMA (Maharashtra Solar Manufacturers Association) briefed this entire episode to the newly appointed Energy minister Dr. Nitin Raut, he immediately demanded an explanation from MSEDCL. MSEDCL informed that they do not have the proper portal & training for the subsidy disbursement process, Dr. Nitin Raut immediately instructed them to get the needful done on war footing. MSEDCL hid the fact that MNRE had allowed MSEDCL to involve MEDA, which already had the required portal & experience to distribute the subsidy. MSEDCL again went into sleep mode & did nothing to concrete to start the process. Again MASMA approached Dr. Raut & he decided to arrange a webinar on 27th May from Vidyut Bhawan calling upon the principle energy secretary, MSEDCL commercial director, DG MEDA, MASMA members from across Maharashtra along with other dignitaries. In this meeting it was informed by MSEDCL that it is shortly going to start the empanelment process & Team MASMA requested to empanel MEDA registered integrators directly to avoid any further delay. Also Team MASMA & DG MEDA requested Dr. Raut & principle energy secretary to involve MEDA for subsidy process for faster disbursement & immediate implementation of already delayed scheme. Dr. Nitin Rautji instructed MSEDCL, MEDA & MASMA to form a joint committee & work hand in hand for faster & efficient implementation of solar policies for the benefit of Maharashtra state. He also instructed MSEDCL & MEDA for restarting the subsidy process immediately.

Current Situation: Despite all the ministers instructions, MSEDCL again delayed the process for more than three months & finally on 28th August 2020 came up with an EOI to initiate the empanelment process for subsidy disbursement. When this tender was published half heartedly after 17 months, it was such a clear cut copy paste job from a neighbouring state that MSEDCL even forgot to replace the GST number with its own. The copy paste conditions mentioned in the original Tender were for a MW level tender & beyond MNRE guidelines. The MNRE published bench mark price was for eg. Of a Maruti 800 & the terms as well as specifications mentioned were of a Mercedes car. MSEDCL was made aware of its mistakes by Team MASMA by mail & also in its Pre BID meet on 9th September. MSEDCl hastily corrected a few of these mistakes & published changes on the very last date of tender sale that is on 17th September. They gave an extension of just 8 days without clarifying all the ambiguities pertaining to the EOI terms asked in Pre Bid meet which is simply in violation of Norms. With so many changes & corrections published on the last day, another pre bid meet should have been called up to ensure transparency of the process. Since Honourable Energy Minister is suffering from Covid 19, MSEDCL intends to carry this unlawful process in his absence & favour a few big companies. Following are the highlights of a few unjust conditions imposed by MSEDCl & some demands of MASMA:-

MSEDCL’s Conditions MASMA’s Objections/ Suggestion
Electrical Contractors Licence is Mandatory for empanelment More than 95% people in Solar field do not have this. This condition must be waived off for experienced Solar Integrators. Moreover making an electrical contractors licence is tedious & lengthy process. MNRE guideline Dt.20/08/2019 has never specified this false condition.
Zoning: MSEDCL has divided this small 25 MW of subsidy for Maharashtra in smallZones. Instead of keeping it on first come first serve basis, MSEDCL has complicated the process. Moreover the Bidders will be forced to work across Maharashtra & have service centres in all Zones for 5 years
Allocation: MSEDCL will be allocating work to bidders. All empanelled vendors will have different investment capacities & marketing abilities. Instead of allocating work proportionately; all successful bidders must be allowed to work as per their capacities on first come first serve basis. Real time applications received must be shared online & the

vendors must be allowed to work as per their monetary & work force abiliy

Successful bidders will have to submit 25 applications on 1st to 5thof every month If an integrator receives just 8 orders a month, shall he execute them or keep searching for orders, will his customers wait for him? The vendor must be allowed case to case submission & immediate approval so that he may parallely start executing the orders. MSEDCL is breaching the MNRE guidelines & creating hurdles & delay in the processing of proposals.
Insurance of System New terms of insurance do not cover a standalone roof top solar system. Insurance for entire building has to be done along with. For eg. : Vendor cannot pay premium for a 1 Crore house installing a Rs. 80,000/- solar system. If there is an Insurance company still covering a solar roof top

system only, MSEDCL may please inform about the same.

75% of Performance ratio is mandatory throughout the five year CMC period If Customer is not cleaning the panel or there is shadow due to increase in height of tree or new construction nearby, MSEDCL will forfeit the performance guaranty submitted by the Vendor..
Technical Terms Several technical conditions in the Tender are technically incorrect/ impractical/ unavailable/ not as per MNRE/ feasible. MSEDCL may conduct a pre bid meet again & if it can answer the questions raised, then it may seek help of much experienced MEDA or MNRE to help clarify the doubts.

 

Several other important queries on disbursement of payment, payment of additional work, performance bank guaranty etc. etc. are left unanswered. MASMA demands an immediate pre bid meet for clarification of all queries & suitable changes following an 8 day extension for inviting bids.

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